Monday, September 28, 2009

That Old Cape Magic

In Richard Russo's new novel called That Old Cape Magic, he uses two weddings and a couple funerals as plot points to tell his story of an autobiographical sounding character Jack Griffin.

As this book begins, Jack is making the same trip once again to the cape that he use to make with his parents. Jack's parents singing their own version and calling it "That Old Cape Magic" as they drove across the Sagamore Bridge and began the summer of a disappointing family vacations. Jack is second guessing some of the decisions he has made in his life, and he is no longer sure where his talents lie.

I found this novel to have deep introspection and every family feeling imaginable, with a middle age man confronting his parents and their failed marriage, his own troubled marriage, his daughters new life and finally , what it was he thought he wanted and what in fact he has.

The storytelling is flawless throughout with moments of great comedy and also others of rueful understanding and heart stopping sadness. Richard Russo goes on to say....The family is where the best ...and worst things happen to us . Whether we embrace it or try and escape it , the family is at the center of our lives.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Waiter Rant: thanks for the tip --confessions of a cynical waiter by Steve Dublanica

I just finished listening to "Waiter Rant" on CD and LOVED IT! It was so funny and very poignant coming from the mind of a restaurant-staffer. From the voice of "the waiter" who remains anonymous and keeps his bistro anonymous as well, telling tales only someone from the inside would know. He spoke about how he came to be a waiter and his beginnings in life wanting to become a priest and attending seminary, only to find jobs in the psychiatric field that came and went. After many job losses, he decided to try being a waiter and only planned on doing so for the short term to earn some cash. His brother was kind enough to get him into the same place that he was working, and the Waiter soon realized that this was not such a glamorous field. He talks about everything from shoddy wait staff, to cheap customers, to horrible owners. He also talks about everything most people think about restaurants but often don't want to confirm---like the spitting in food, dropping food and the 10 second rule, workers not washing their hands after going to the bathroom, etc. A fun read and one that all can relate to if they have ever been a restaurant patron or in the business itself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

A terrific audiobook that I enjoyed and really thought was charming, funny and an intriguing mystery is called The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by first time novelist 70 year old Alan Bradley. The story is read by Jayne Entwistle who portrays precocious 11 year old Flavia de Luce, as an unconventional young lady with a love of chemistry and a talent for deductive reasoning with enthusiasm, curiosity and a British accent that draws you in. The story begins in the summer of 1950 in a sleepy English village. When Flavia discovers a murdered stranger’s body in a cucumber patch outside her bedroom window, she begins her quest to solve the mystery like a female adolescent version of Sherlock Holmes. I really enjoyed each of the characters in this audiobook and how they all developed their own unique personality.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

RIP - Mary Allin Travers (1936-2009)

Mary Allin Travers died on September 16, 2009, after a long battle with leukemia. She was an American singer-songwriter and member of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, along with Peter Yarrow and Noel "Paul" Stookey. This group was one of the most successful folk-singing groups of the 1960s.

She was born on November 9, 1936, in Louisville, Kentucky and song with The Song Swappers in high school, as a backup for Pete Seeger. Travers was also in the cast of the Broadway-theatre show, The Next President.The group Peter, Paul and Mary was formed in 1961. The group's first album, Peter, Paul and Mary came out in 1962 with their versions of "If I Had a Hammer" and "Lemon Tree." "If I Had a Hammer" won them Grammy's for best folk recording and best performance by a vocal group. It also became an anthem for racial equality. Other albums were Moving and In the Wind.

The group broke up in 1970 and Travers pursued a solo career and recorded five albums: Mary (1970), Morning Glory (1972), All My Choices (1973), Circles (1974) and It's in Everyone of Us.

In 1999, Peter, Paul and Mary were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Check out the tribute to her and Peter, Paul and Mary in Periodicals Room in the lower level of the library.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall GlenVIEWINGS film series: Doubt

Come to the library on Friday, September 25, at 2 or 6:30 PM
to see the first film in our fall GlenVIEWINGS series. Doubt, starring Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is a gripping, provocative, and enigmatic film about the power struggles inside a 1960’s convent. All four major cast members were nominated for acting Oscars. Just drop in on Friday afternoon or evening, no tickets are required. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What I Thought I Knew...

What I Thought I Knew: a Memoir by Alice Eve Cohen

Nothing goes as planned in this brave and candid memoir. At age 44 Alice Even Cohen finally felt like her life was finally going in the right direction. She survived a difficult divorce, her career as a writer and performer was taking off, she loved raising her adopted daughter and was ready to try married life again. Around that time, she began to have a combination of health issues that were diagnosed as early menopause. Six months later, she discovers her health issues were really due to pregnancy despite the fact that she had been told years earlier that she was infertile. She feels guilt and shame as she questions whether she can love her surprise baby who has received no prenatal care. Cohen wrestles with conflicting ideas about what the future holds for her baby, herself and her family. Everyone has advice for her, but in the end she must come to terms on her own about the challenges she faces. Cohen honestly discusses her emotions to create a suspenseful account of her experience which is heartbreaking at times, but uplifting in the end.

Read an excerpt from What I Thought I Knew

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dominican Literature, just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month

I am reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Pulitzer Prize author Junot Díaz. I was pretty sure the book was going to be good and it is; but what I didn’t count on was how anxious I was to learn more about the political history of the Dominican Republic. I can’t recommend this book enough not only for its entertainment value but for the glimpse into what was really going on in the Dominican Republic under Rafael Trujillo’s regime. Written in English with Junot Díaz’s perfect placement of words in Spanish, this book exudes Dominican culture and reads seamlessly. Some may say that the story is hard to follow, but the truth is, the story is complex and the character development is so well done that I felt like I could pick them out in a crowd. Although this is a work of fiction, I couldn't help but think that perhaps somewhere it is someone's true story. Was it fate, was Oscar's life decided for him, or was it what Junot refers to as fukú?

Other reads that be of interest regarding the Dominican Republic and the Trujillo regime are Perejil (in Spanish translated from French) by René Philoctète and two books by author Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies.

Visit for more information on books in Spanish or books in English by Latino authors.

Search our Online Catalog for these titles.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Longlist for the Booker Prize

The Longlist for the Booker Prize was recently announced. The prize, first given in 1969, promotes full-length novels, not in translation, written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. Many Glenview readers are fond of both the novels and the flurry of interest in the winner. (The prize is 50,000 pounds.) There are usually favorite authors on the list; for example this year's list includes A. S. Byatt, Hilary Mantel, Colm Toibin and Sarah Waters.

The winner will be announced October 6.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Opera for the Millions

When you think of opera what comes to mind? 'Opera is an art form consisting of a dramatic stage performance set to music.' ...or, as George Bernard Shaw put it: '[Opera is when] a tenor and soprano want to make love, but are prevented from doing so by a baritone.'

All operas have interesting facts beyond their stories. Take for instance, Tosca. At the end of the opera, Tosca is supposed to leap to her death from the roof of the prison and fall on a mattress or trampoline. But did you know that in more than one production, a misclaculation involving the bounciness of the trampoline, has sent poor Tosca, after leaping to her death, bouncing back into view above the prison wall. Opera for Dummies by David Pogue

Did you also know that Faust was so popular in the United States that in New York the opera season began with a performance of it every year for decades? In the late nineteenth century and within 3 1/2 years of its premier, The Merry Widow was performed more than 18,000 times in German, English, and American theaters.

Come hear the stories, music and more in the library this Fall, given by the Chicago Lyric Opera Corps.

Tosca by Puccini - Thursday, 9/17/09

Faust by Gounod - Thursday, 9/24/09

Ernani by Verdi - Thursday, 10/22/09

Katya Kabanova by Janacek - Thursday, 11/12/09

The Merry Widow by Lehar - Wednesday, 11/18/09

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire

I'm currently listening to A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire, on CD. This is the same author that wrote Wicked and many other Oz related fiction that goes beyond what L. Frank Baum ever imagined. You get to know the main character, Brr, who is the Cowardly Lion in a much different form. He gets to know himself and be a part of the more human world in the land of Oz after his curiosity is poked thanks to a soldier he meets in the forest. The reader is able to see how courage comes to be in his life and the significance of the medal in his life. We also get to experience Dorothy and all her Oz friends in a whole new way as they make their way through the forest to make a special visit to the Wizard.

Search our Online Catalog for these titles.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Write on, Chicago

Chicago writers don’t necessarily need Bristish literary magazine Granta’s approval of the city’s rich literary history, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. In fact, it actually feels pretty good. It’s welcome attention that recognizes Chicago’s cultural significance in a month when the 2016 Olympic Bid is daily front page news. American editor John Freeman chose Chicago over other themes for the next issue because “right now, Chicago is having a real cultural movement”. The issue arrives in mid-September but you can get a head start and check out some of the featured authors (Aleksandar Hemon, Stuart Dybek, Sandra Cisneros, Alex Kotlowitz) now at the library.

Introducing "Chicago" from Granta magazine on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Looking for a Quickie Book Review?...Consider ...

The One Minute Critic!

Your source for critical discussion, one minute at a time.

I came upon a great sight awhile ago in preparing for a book discussion. It is a blog brought to you by the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. It is called One Minute Critic. It is a collection of very short book reviews on a wide variety of books. Librarians highlight their collections as well as members of the community who talk about books they've read and enjoyed, sharing their experiences with you. It could be a useful resource in suggesting book discussion titles. In Google, enter one minute followed by the title of the book. For example, to watch a video critique of the book, Truck: a Love Story by Michael Perry, by an interesting librarian, enter the keywords - "one minute truck". Click on the entry and enjoy the show! Try a title you're considering.

If you don't see your title there, check out -

One Minute Book Reviews

One Minute Book Reviews is an independent blog created by its editor-in-chief, Janice Harayda. It consists of brief reviews of new and classic fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adults and children. The site does not cover literary news, trends or gossip. It is for people who like to read but dislike hype and review inflation.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cherry Cheesecake Murder (Hannah Swensen mysteries) by Joanne Fluke

The Cookie Jar is the hot-seat of action once again in this culinary mystery! Everyone had a motive to shoot Dean Lawrence, the director who sought out Lake Eden, Minnesota, for his most current film undertaking. Made to look like an accident, Lawrence was shot in the head with one of the gun props, but the reader knows it is not so cut-and-dried. Laced with many delicious recipes along with Hannah Swensen's quirky remarks, this is a fun read for anyone who likes a light mystery. Listening to the book on CD, one might want to go back to the hardcover to jot down all the delicious dessert recipes that are mentioned in detail in the book. The author even gives substitution tips when recounting ingridients which is a nice plus. Get ready to get hungry with this great read! Part of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, don't forget to look for the other books in the series, including Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Strawberry Shortcake Murder, Blueberry Muffin Murder, and many more!

Search our Online Catalog for these titles.